IPL: Power Play Time for Consumer Electronics Brands

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The trends show that consumer electronics brands are clearly looking at the IPL to either find, regain or consolidate foothold in the Indian market

Notice the Samsung and Daikin branding on jerseys. (Pic Source – Delhi Capitals)

Shortly after last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) concluded, global advisory firm Duff & Phelps released a brand valuation report which revealed that the overall value of the IPL ecosystem stood at a whopping $6.3 billion, making it one of the most lucrative vehicles for brands to reach out to a wide range of audiences. Further fueled by a sudden growth in ( Over The Top) OTT pay-per-use TV viewership, brands now have the opportunity to think beyond inflated TV ad budgets and use localized OTT to reach their prospective customers, even with local language ad content.

Such massive growth of an already popular cricket league has led to an interesting trend — that of consumer electronics brands focusing just on the IPL and allocating all their budgets over a crunched two month period of peak time summer entertainment.

Breaking down IPL brand by brand

When was the last time you saw a Surya LED ad on TV? While hardcore enthusiasts of IPL might recall that Havells was one of the first lighting brands to use the IPL as a vehicle to announce their innovative products, they are pretty much non-existent this year. Surya LED on the other hand, seems to have a more focused approach, where they have become one of the partners for Rajasthan Royals (RR). Clearly, they believe that their Jumbo, Neo and Eco range of LED bulbs will find resonance with RR, a team that is regarded as one of the hidden gems of the IPL. Pretty much like Surya.

Mumbai Indians (MI) seems to be a favourite for electronics brands with a handful of them deciding to mark their presence on player jerseys. Sharp and Usha are the ones that are leading this pack. According to the Duff & Phelps report, MI is number one among all teams in terms of valuation ($113 million), so it is no surprise that a fan and home appliances brand, as well as a TV player working to find foothold in India, are betting big on the IPL.

Let us now look at two unconventional brands and partnerships. Exide, the brand with probably the highest level of recall in the batteries space, is continuing its partnership with Kolkata Knight Riders. The the rationale of a battery company, which may not direct appeal to lay consumers, spending money to brand itself through the IPL, may be slightly more complex than we thin. But we shouldn’t forget that some of the biggest petroleum, cement and logistics brands have also committed their budgets to the IPL.

The other unconventional partnership is that of Daikin, the Japanese AC brand, which has become the principal sponsor for the newly rebranded Delhi team, the Delhi Capitals. This is an ideal example of a brand that is pretty much invisible rest of the year, but sponsors an entire team for 2 months of summer.

Consumer electronics brands are clearly looking at the IPL to either find, regain or consolidate foothold. One of the earliest companies that realised the true potential of the IPL and invested heavily in the pre and post match presentations was of course Kent RO. Looks like a variety of other brands waited to see the water purifier brand’s success before allocating massive budgets to the league. Like they say in sports, may the best brand win!

This story has been submitted by Vishnu Anand. He is working as a technology and business journalist under the guidance of veteran journalist Anand Parthasarathy (Ex-The Hindu). 

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